Today: Jun 18, 2024

Program aims to raise awareness of sexual assult

BRITTANY HOWARDSpecial to Southern News
Friends with benefits, late night “booty calls,” casual sex, receiving a service as a favor and not having to make any commitment are all unconventional and irresponsible to Jen Haddad, a 21-year-old secondary education major and president of the Student Government Association at Southern.
These topics and much more were discussed at the event The Anatomy of a Hook-up.
“I’d say my definition is even just making out with somebody, it could lead to sexual assault if she decides she doesn’t want to and the guy doesn’t agree. I don’t think all hooking up leads to sexual assault,” she said.
About 95 percent of all attendees felt the definition of a hook-up meant any sexual activity either with a person they just met or someone they already knew.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year approximately 19 million new STIs are contracted. Almost half of those occur to those from ages 15–24.
The program provided students a general overview of sexual assault, including the role of consent, the manipulation that can occur and responsibility of one’s actions.
Ashley Harrison, a 17-year-old psychology major, said she finds educating students and her peers to be rewarding.
“I’m representing the Women’s Center, trying to promote sexual awareness, while engaging students in a fun and effective learning experience,” she said.
Participation was encouraged during an interactive part of the event, where volunteers were asked to put beer goggles on that would simulate drunkenness.   The volunteers were also asked to place condoms on a wooden penis, to show how judgment while under the influence can reduce safety.
Ebony McClease, a graduate intern and women studies major, said the subject came about through students in the summer. They were given the opportunity to request programs that were of interest.
“A lot of people hook-up with each other and don’t know the responsibilities that come with it. I’ve been here for a year-and-a-half now,” she said. “ I chose to get involved because women’s issues were important to me, and the issues that women face are overlooked. I’m a survivor of rape, so I was more drawn to the concept of the program. If one can’t say no with confidence, then yes will mean nothing.”
Jim Hoffecker, another graduate intern for the Women’s Center, said it’s easier to hold events when one isn’t doing everything by themselves. He came along to represent the Men’s Initiative, a movement to recognize and influence men.
“Just being a presence is enough; the more people that recognize you and what you do, the more interested they are to get involved,” he said. “It’s more for the students, for them to know that resources are here. We must take responsibility as a community.”
Hoffecker said it is easy for people to dehumanize situations such as rape, because of common thoughts that the female brought it upon herself by wearing that outfit, and she “asked for it.”
According to the organization College Drinking, a group that focuses on prevention of what their name suggests, 696,000 students ages 18–24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year.
“It’s here, and it happens we are trying to teach the proper ways. Knowing what consent is and what it means. The consequences can be legal, moral, and emotional. We try to personalize the scenarios by bringing the incidents closer to home,” he said. “You’re living in such close proximity with people of the opposite sex. The reality is you’re in college, so you’re probably going to drink, and might even hook up, but being responsible makes a difference.”

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